We'd like to welcome as a guest blogger a good friend a great writer, Amanda Von Der Lohe. Amanda is finishing up her MFA in Creative Writing at Hollins University in Virginia and teaches English and Drama in Draper, Utah. She is currently working on a YA novel.
So you want to be a writer and/or improve your writing skills. Excellent! You have come to this site looking for advice and I would love to pass on some of the best writing advice I have received. Here it is, plain and simple: If you want to be a writer...
Musicians compose, artists create, athletes train. Professionals become good at their craft because they practice. If you are serious about becoming a writer, writing has to be more than a “one day I’ll get around to it” thing. Start writing now.
Forget the rules. The rules will come with practice and study. Just write! I promise writing is therapeutic, exhilarating, frustrating, and fulfilling.
Writing can fit into your schedule regardless of what your current job is. This past year my responsibilities as a full-time middle school theatre teacher and part-time graduate student overwhelmed my time. I found that if I set aside just thirty minutes a day I felt rejuvenated because I had done something I loved and accomplished a goal. Ideally I like to set aside more time, but as I mentioned many things compete for my time. I'm sure you could say the same thing about your life. The important thing is to write and hone the craft.
If you have the time (and the money) you can take classes or join writing groups. If not, no worries. Keep writing!
Write in your spare time and always have some means of writing available. Rare is the moment I am without paper and pen. I jot down ideas when they occur whether at the movies, in restaurants, as I’m about to fall asleep, whenever. One of my writer friends always carries a mini-notebook in her purse for the same reason. Write on the back of old receipts if you must. My cell phone accompanies me on walks just in case I need to use the notebook feature and write away. Inspiration knows no limits, so always be prepared.
Ultimately, if you really, really, really want to be a writer turn off the television, wait to play that video game, disconnect from the Internet, get away from whatever activity is currently distracting you and write. Write now!